Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec

A composer of contemporary music, clarinettist and electronica musician, sound artist and maker of multimedia environments, Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec creates in all of the mentioned areas, while retaining his individuality and recognisability in each of the fields. This does not only unveil his acute sonic sensibility and a careful consideration of its traits but also an ear for a sound environment through which meanings are disclosed on different levels – social, artistic, architectural and political. These elements are intertwined in a clear and distilled but never rigid concept. Tao first graduated from the Trondeheim Conservatory of Music in Norway as an instrumentalist and clarinettist, and then continued his studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the Netherlands, where he received another BA in music composition and an MA from the ArtScience programme at the Interfaculty Image and Sound. As a composer, he has produced a series of works for smaller chamber, percussion and other ensembles, which have been performed at home and abroad. In his early period, he collaborated a lot with Marko Peljhan; later, his works were performed in renowned international contemporary music festivals, such as Contemporanea in Italy, the Gaudeamus Music Week, the Netherlands, and Forum Nueur Music in Germany. Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec is active also in the field of free improvised music. In 2003, Vrhovec and the contrabassist Tomaž Grom established the duo Tilt, although the project with this name had already been detected in 1999 on the album The Double in collaboration with the poet Primož Čučnik. Even prior to this, the project was called Muskafiber and featured the composer and accordionist Drago Ivanuša. The music of this period relied heavily on structural elements through the form of poem, poetry, singing and speech, and often drifted into spontaneous, improvised soundscapes. Today, Tilt touches upon contemporary sonority in a digital milieu, drawing its expressivity from a liminal space between acoustic and electronically processed sounds. This in-between space is also the locus of spontaneous communication. But even though it is grounded in free improvisation, the improvising nevertheless suggests a composing sensibility that presents itself through a wide spectrum of sounds, timbres and real-time digitally processed sounds. Tilt released an album under the Slovenian L’innomable label and received many good reviews in the national and international press, among others, in the British music monthly The Wire. The duo has successfully performed in different European capitals, as well as collaborated with numerous internationally acclaimed musicians. In the field of mixed media art practices, Tao gained further recognition with, for example, a series of installations, space interventions entitled “Virtual Hole” and “Virtual Mirror”. Recently, he is enjoying a growing international reputation also in the field of sound art, especially through his collaborations with the American musician and theoretician Brandon LaBell, author of “Background Noise – Perspectives on Sound Art”, one of the more influential discussions on sound art. Their last collaboration was the book and CD Manual for the Construction of a Sound as a Device to Elaborate Social Connection for the project “Virtual Mirror – Sound”. In this context, Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec this year received a Hybrid Arts Honourable Mention at Ars Electronica in Linz for the work “Virtual Mirror – Rain”. A fusion of music, improvisation and his interactive installation research can be seen in his work “Inside Out”, which he co-created with the acclaimed Austrian composer and trombonist Radu Malfatti. Tao has presented his works in Mexico, the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Turkey and elsewhere. Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec is not only one of the most visible contemporary Slovenian artists but – with his cycle of lectures, sound events and concerts Bitshift taking place in Kapelica Gallery – also one of the pioneers of presentation and consolidation of sound art in our space.

Luka Zagoričnik




Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec is an artist and musician working with invisible ephemeral phenomena and the notion of space. His artistic practice is a poetic exploration of relationships between transitory and temporal flows like sound and weather phenomena and the architectural and social spaces they inhabit.
In his installations, he makes architecture sensitive to its immediate ephemeral surroundings and enhances the temporal dimension of architecture by creating situations where the outside and inside, the unpredictable and constructed, the permanent and temporal, time and space converge.
His works encompass interdisciplinary and mixed-media installations, sound interventions and electro acoustic music.
He has shown and performed in Kapelica Gallery, Ljubljana, Ars Electronica Festival,  Linz, AV Festival, Newcastle, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana and PSWAR,  Amsterdam, amongst others.

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Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec
photo: Brane Zorman

Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec, 2009, time: 01:06:38

Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec, 2010, time: 01:19:30


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